Mobility

Is Newton the best mobile email client you're not using?

The Newton email app is easy to use and offers several helpful features, but is it worth the $50 per year? Here are some pros and cons to help you decide if it's right for your business.

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Image: Jack Wallen

There are so many possible email clients available. Some of those clients are fairly single-minded in purpose, whereas others offer myriad options, features, and possibilities. And then there are those that offer just the right amount of features to help raise them to the top of most "best of" lists. Newton is one such app. Available for Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS, Newton offers only the features you need, in order to get your work done.

This particular take on the email client was originally dubbed Cloud Magic. Newton supports quite a lot of email account types (Google, Corporate Google, Google Apps, iCloud Mail, Outlook, IMAP, Exchange); and, among the standard feature set found in Newton, you'll also enjoy snoozing messages, read receipts, undo send, and send-later functionality. You can trash, snooze, or archive, or file emails with a simple swipe. That's a bit misleading (more on that in a bit).

The one caveat to Newton is cost. Unlike most mobile email clients, Newton will set you back $50 a year. That's $4.16 cents a month (or $1.04 a week). Not bad for a clutter-free, reliable, business-worthy email solution. If only Newton offered encryption, it would certainly be worth the fee. Without encryption, the choice would be up to you. However, even missing that one security-minded feature, Newton still might be the best email client you're not using.

Let's install it and see what makes this client so good.

Installation

I will be demonstrating Newton on the Android platform. Here are the steps to install.

  1. Open up the Google Play Store on your Android device.
  2. Search for Newton
  3. Locate and tap the entry by CloudMagic, Inc
  4. Tap Install
  5. Allow the installation to complete

Once the app installs, you'll find a launcher on your home screen or within your App Drawer (or both). Once the app launches, you can either log into your Newton account or tap to start a free trial (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

The first screen you'll see with Newton Email.

One very nice aspect of having a Newton account is that it saves your settings, such that you can install Newton on any number of devices, log in with your Newton account, and your email accounts will automatically appear. That alone is almost worth the price of admission. Of course, this brings to mind security. Regarding this topic, Newton only offers the following:

  • Your Newton password is hashed and salted
  • We don't take passwords for services which support OAuth
  • A strict firewall is in place. Most critical hosts do not have internet connection
  • We use HTTPS for all client-server communications

The big concern for me is that there is zero mention of encryption. Are accounts encrypted on the Newton servers? This would be critical information to have, especially for business-minded clients.

Usage

One of the best things about Newton is how easy it is to use. In fact, I'd have to say it's one of the easiest email clients on the market. It doesn't offer too much, in the way of bells and whistles, to cause users to have to suffer any sort of learning curve. It just works.

One interesting bit you'll want to know is how to swipe your emails. Here's how swiping works:

  • Partial swipe right - move the email to a folder
  • Half swipe right - delete the email
  • Full swipe right - archive the email
  • Partial swipe left - mark unread/read
  • Half/full swipe left - move the email to a folder

If you open an email and tap the menu button (three vertical dots in the upper right corner), you have the options of marking an email as spam or snoozing an email (Figure B). From my perspective, it would be nice if those two features would be rolled into the left swipe actions (i.e. half swipe left would snooze and full swipe left would mark as spam).

Figure B

Figure B

The Newton Mail email menu.

Superchargers

Newton also includes what they call Superchargers. These are features you can enable (from within the settings window). The list of Superchargers includes:

  • Tidy inbox (Weed out newsletters and other distractions - disabled by default)
  • Snooze (snooze your emails - enabled by default)
  • Connected apps (enable your favorite productivity apps, so you can save email directly to them - disabled by default)
  • Sender Profile (Add job title, location, organization details, social profiles, and more - enabled by default)
  • Read Receipts (view message read-receipts - enabled by default)
  • Send later (schedule emails - enabled by default)
  • Remind if not replied (follow up on emails you've sent)
  • Undo (recall a sent email - enabled by default)

It should be noted that the last three Superchargers listed (Send later, Remind if not replied, and Undo) have no options and cannot be disabled. If you want to enable or configure a Supercharger, you simple open Newton, tap the "hamburger menu" from the upper left corner of the main window, tap the gear icon, tap Superchargers, and then tap the gear icon associated with the Supercharger you want to enable/configure (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C

The Superchargers available to enable/configure.

Is it worth the cost?

In the end, you have to ask yourself if Newton is worth the cost. That can only be answered by you. Unfortunately, we live in a time where fewer and fewer people are willing to pay for software. The unfortunate endgame of that scenario is that fewer and fewer companies will find software development a viable means. The result of that, of course, is fewer and fewer software titles available to us.

Newton is good. In fact, outside of K-9 Mail, I'd have to say, it's one of the best email clients I've used on the Android platform. What does K-9 Mail have over Newton? Encryption. Should the Newton developers add encryption to the fold, it would be, hands down, the best in breed and the $50/year cost would be a no-brainer.

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About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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